CT positive brain injury in mild TBI patients presenting with normal SAC scores

Brian O'Neil, Rosanne Naunheim, Robert DeLorenzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Traumatic brain injury accounts for over 1 million U.S. emergency department visits annually. A significant percentage of patients undergo CT scans to exclude intracranial bleeds. The Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC) is designed to rapidly determine whether a concussion has occurred, (0-30 scale, where ≥25 is considered normal). Although not intended to be used in isolation, results in the normal range are considered an indication of low suspicion of brain injury. This study evaluated the relationship between CT findings of structural injury (CT+) and performance on the SAC. Methods: We performed a prospective observational study on mild head-injured patients presenting to the emergency department who underwent CT scans and had SAC evaluations. Results: We enrolled 368 patients, of which 66 were read by a neuroradiologist as positive (CT+), with an average age of 46.7, and an average Glasgow Coma Scale of 14.85. 38.2% of these CT+ patients had a SAC score ≥25. There were no significant differences between time of injury and CT scan or SAC for those with high or low SAC scores. Both high and low SAC groups contained similar CT+ abnormalities (e.g., hematomas). Conclusions: These results indicate that a normal SAC score alone does not exclude intracranial injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1250-1253
Number of pages4
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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